“I often hear people say that a person suffering from Alzheimer’s is not the person they knew. I wonder to myself – Who are they then?”

Bob DeMarco

If you’ve never been in the situation where you have known someone with either Dementia or Alzheimer’s consider yourself lucky but don’t write it off as something that can’t affect you. It’s more than just forgetting if you locked the door when you left the house or not being able to remember who someone is that you haven’t seen in awhile, it’s progressive. One day you forget your keys and another day down the road you forget what keys are. It starts with that initial forgetfulness but then you start to get lost on familiar routes or don’t remember how to do things that used to come easy to you then your sleeping patterns change and you begin to wake up late at night and start to forget who you are. There is currently no treatment for Alzheimer’s but ideally doctors wish to slow the progress of the disease and manage the current symptoms.

One way to slow the progress of this disease that has been experimented with is music as shown with the new documentary “Alive Inside.” “Music imprints itself on the brain deeper than any other human experience. It speaks to us in a different language and arouses every emotion.  It connects us all, it is a force that ignites our souls.” The reason I bring up this disease for my local blog is that a local organization is also doing their part to help in the process. Colonie Senior Services, inc had their ribbon-cutting yesterday for their Alzheimer’s Cafe at the Beltrone Living Center that will be officially open on May 3rd. They hope to provide a “warm and relaxing environment where individuals recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and their families can gather to learn more about the journey ahead” funded in part by The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region’s Assemblyman Robert Reily Salary Fund. According to their website, “Reilly has donated his entire after-tax salary since 2005 to nonprofit groups serving his district in northern Albany and southern Saratoga counties.”

They’re separating themselves from the term “support group” because there’s already an expectation with that term whereas a cafe seems to be more casual, allowing the families to take part at their own pace like a coffee house where everyone is going through or about to go through the same process. Once open (May 3), the Alzheimer’s Cafe will be open on the first Thursday each month from 6:00PM-8:00PM in the Country Cafe at the Beltrone Living Center (6 Winners Circle, Albany).

Even if you’re not someone who is personally affected by this disease in any way, please take a minute and spread the word. 5.4 million people today are living with Alzheimer’s Disease and 43% of those over 85 have this disease so even if you aren’t affected, you must know someone who knows someone who is and it doesn’t hurt the spread the word. This is a disease that doesn’t only affect those living with it but also everyone around them.